by: Jurjen Zuijdendorp [ ]
Trumpeter released in June 2012 the Soviet D-30 122mm Howitzer - Early Version. The D-30 first entered service in the 1960’s. It has a maximum range of 15.4 kilometers, or over 21km using RAP (Rocket Assisted Projectile). Distinctive features include the low mobile mounting and the above-barrel recoil system. The three legged mobile mount is unusual for field artillery, with stabilizers that are clamped together for towing and then deployed when in action. Also unusual is the large tow linkage fixed to the muzzle: in transport the stabilizers are folded away and the barrel serves as a trail. The distinctive muzzle brake produces about twice the overpressure in the area around the gun that is acceptable to western armies. Often is seen that the D-30 is fired with a long lanyard, which reduces rate of fire (6-8 per minute). Maximum towing speed is 60 km/h on the road.
The D-30 is noted for simplicity of maintenance by its users; reputedly there are no special tools, all jobs can be done with a wrench and large hammer. However, like any other gun routine maintenance is essential and western troops in Afghanistan have reported Afghan manned D-30s having problems with shells sticking in the barrel due to lack of cleaning.
The model comes in a small cardboard box. The model measures length: 155mm and width: 63mm. This kit has over 150 parts. The gun mount legs & frame are individually packed within foam. You will find in the box:
• 6 sprues of light sand plastic
• small PE sheet
• 2 tires
• 3 gun mount legs (Frame A,B & C)
• a single piece casted recoil system (Frame D)
• painting & marking guide
• A4 instructions (12 pages).
My first impression is that the quality of the casting is simply excellent. The parts have fine and have crisp details. Some of the parts do have some small flash though, but this is easy to fix with a sharp blade. No serious issues with it. I got really excited when inspecting the parts - the D30 just ‘screams’ to be built.
Gun mount legs (step 1- 4)
In the instructions you first need to decide whether you want to build the D-30 in travel mode or combat mode and keep your choice during the assembly in mind. The assembly starts with the gun mount legs: part A19 fits almost perfectly in the leg. You will end up with some small seam lines but this doesn’t matter: it is at the bottom so you won’t see it. The small hooks which you need to place on the side are very well detailed. The locking pins can be placed in combat mode (inserted in the legs) or placed on the sides when in travel mode.
Gun mount (step 5-9)
When you finished the assembly of the gun mount legs the instructions continue with the gun base. If you look at the instructions (see images in this review) you will notice that this assembly is pretty straightforward. The parts for the gun sight are nicely cast and assembly won’t cause any problems.
Gun barrel & recoil system (step 10)
The most distinctive feature is off course the gun barrel and muzzle brake. Interestingly Trumpeter offers you two different muzzles brakes (E&F) but doesn’t provide any extra info on this choice. The attachment of the tow eyes on the muzzle brake are different, but I don’t know the difference in use. Any additional info on this is welcome. The gun breech parts are not as crisp as compared to the other parts of the model. Small flash, seam line and injector holes are present but this should be easy to fix. The recoil system is a one piece cast (frame D). On the edges some small seam lines are present - again - easy to fix.
Gun shield (step 11)
I’m really impressed with the level of detail and casting quality of the gun shield. The hinges, bolts, shield edges and curves are simply stunning. A job well done.
final assembly The rest of the assembly speaks for itself. One last comment I would like to make on the tires. Simply wow: no flash and excellent detail on the sides (the smaller text you can’t read but it is actually there when looking through a magnifier).
During reading this review you wouldn’t be surprised that I’m very exited about this kit. This will be an easy to build model. The quality of the parts are excellent where only the gun breech will need some extra attention. What I really like about this model is the gun shield, tires and gun mount legs. I’m definitely sure you will have much modeling fun with this model for a very reasonable price.
Highly recommended 9.5/10